Along with my other farmers' market purchases I also bought pears. If you give me an apple and a pear I will usually reach for the apple. For some reason the crispy crunch you get from an apple is simply more satisfying to me than the grainy nature of a pear. One way I do like pears though, and I feel almost silly saying this, is poached in wine. After all, who wouldn't agree with me on that one? I was watching a show called French Food at Home about a woman who "quit the corporate life and moved to Paris to learn how to cook" (how lovely...) and watched her make an incredibly simple poached pear recipe that I just had to try. This recipe takes a while but couldn't be easier. Not only its flavors completely embody fall and makes you look like an accomplished cook, it fill your house or apartment with an amazing mulled wine smell.
Poached Pears in Wine
from French Food at Home on Cooking Channel
(4) Bosc pears
(1) bottle of red wine
1/2 cup of honey
Pick 4 pears (or like in my case 3) that are relatively firm. You don't want them falling apart while cooking in the wine. Peel them but keep the stems on.
Pour the bottle of red wine you have selected into an oven proof baking dish that has a cover on it. Le Creuset pots are perfect for this. Turn the heat of your stove onto medium and mix in the honey and let it melt into the wine. I used less than 1/2 a cup, more like 1/4 cup. I don't love really sweet desserts and figured the pears would have plenty of sugar. (NOTE: here you could add spices like cinnamon sticks, or star anise, a vanilla bean maybe?) Add your peeled pears. The wine should only cover them about half way. That's OK. You will turn them every hour or so, so they absorb the wine equally and evenly.
Turn the heat up until the wine starts to boil.
Put the pot, with the lid/cover on, into your oven, set at 250 degrees. The temperature is very low but you will be cooking the pears for anywhere from 3-5 hours so you don't want it too hot.
I cooked mine for 3 hours, turning the pears every hour. By the time they were done their naked white bodies had turned a beautiful burgundy red.
Remove the pears and put the pot of wine back on the stove. Turn the heat up to high and let the mixture boil until it had reduced by more than half. It should be a dark red syrup when you are done.
Drizzle it over the pears and enjoy.
The sweet syrupy wine is just so incredibly good. I have some leftover and I am trying to figure out what else I could drizzle it on because throwing it away seems like a shame. Any ideas?